Prime Minister calls for compulsory health insurance by 2017

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Compulsory health insurance system should be introduced in Latvia from 2017, Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma (Unity) told the parliament today while presenting a report on implementation of the government's declaration.

Straujuma said that the healthcare sector would be reformed by the introduction of compulsory health insurance. Specific proposals about the reform will be presented next year, she added.

The new model should become effective in 2017. As a result, there would be no need "for mending holes" in the budget, which is what the government has to do now by allotting additional funds for healthcare, said the premier.

Straujuma praised Latvia's Presidency at the Council of the European Union, saying that Latvia used all opportunities available to it. She also emphasized challenges presented by the situation in Ukraine.

Speaking about the refugee crisis, Straujuma voiced an all-too-familiar rhetoric that the decision to relocate asylum seekers would not solve the cause of the problem, therefore the EU should do more to bolster its external borders, develop closer cooperation with third countries, and return economic migrants to their countries of residence. She also told the parliament about the work of a task force set up to develop a plan for accommodation of refugees in Latvia.

The government's priorities are the same as the priorities in the 2016 budget - national security, public health, education, and reducing inequality, stressed Straujuma.

She went on to say that work was under way on a new remuneration system for teachers, and the concept would be considered along with the plan for the development of schools' network.

Absorption of state funding for education has to become more transparent, which is a precondition for increasing teachers' salaries next year, said Straujuma.

In her speech, Straujuma also urged government representatives to accelerate using up EU funds.

The other priorities mentioned by Straujuma today were strengthening the rule of law and fighting the shadow economy.

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